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Foam ban

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Effective Jan 1, 2020, businesses are required to comply with a city-wide ban, which restricts licence holders from serving prepared food and beverages in foam cups and foam take-out containers.

The foam ban is one of the actions we're taking to reduce single-use item waste in support of our zero waste 2040 goal. 

Get information on:

By-law details

Suggested alternatives

We encourage you to source reusable alternatives or single-use packaging that can be recycled in the Recycle BC residential collection program or composted in the City Green Bin.

Reusable cups

Ceramic mugs

Glass cups and jars

  • Some businesses charge deposits on beverages or meals served in jars

Reusable travel mugs

  • Encourage customers to bring their travel mugs
  • Mug-sharing programs are also emerging in Vancouver

Recyclable cups

Accepted in Recycle BC's residential recycling collection program.

 Plastic coating made from fossil fuels or plants is accepted if it is not labeled compostable, biodegradable, oxodegradable, or photodegradable.

Paper cups (coated with plastic) with plastic lids

Rigid plastic cups with plastic lids


Reusable containers

Ceramic dishes

Glass jars

  • Some businesses charge deposits on beverages or meals served in jars

Stainless steel trays, plates, and tiffins

  • Tiffins are a common food delivery system India and used by some local food vendors
  • Steel dishes are in use in select food courts by vendors

Reusable plastic plates, bowls, and to-go containers

  • Plastic plates and bowls often used for salad bars and hot bars
  • Plastic to-go container examples include UBC Green to Go, SFU GoGreen, and Portland GO Box programs

Recyclable containers

Accepted in Recycle BC's residential recycling collection program.

Plastic coating made from fossil fuels or plants is accepted if it is not labeled compostable, biodegradable, oxodegradable, or photodegradable.

Paper containers (coated with plastic), may have paper or plastic lids

Rigid plastic containers

Aluminum containers

  • With aluminum lids, not paper lids lined with metal

Compostable containers

Accepted in our Green Bin program.

Leaf plates and bowls

  • Made from leaves compressed and moulded into shape with heat

Paper plates

  • Accepted in Green Bin if not lined with any type of plastic
  • May have a clay coating

Moulded fibre or pulp containers

  • Made from plant fibres like bagasse, a substance left after juice has been extracted from plants 
  • Ask your supplier for fluorine-free or PFAS-free options 

Kraft, wax, or glassine paper bags and wrap

  • Must not be lined with any type of plastic
  • Ask your supplier for fluorine-free or PFAS-free options

 Ask your supplier for flourine-free or PFAS-free options. These non-stick chemicals provide water and grease resistance, but don't break down and can accumulate over time.

Not accepted in the Recycle BC or Green Bin programs

Paper cups and containers coated with biodegradable or compostable plastic

Any type of plastic (made from fossil fuels or plants) that is labeled biodegradable, compostable, or photodegradable, such as:

  • Plastic polymers like:
    • PLA (polylactic acid)
    • CPLA (crystalized polylactic acid)
    • PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate)
    • PBAT (polybutylene adipate terephthalate)
  • Plastic with degradable additives
  • Plastic mixed with plant fibres or volcanic ash

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